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The word stovies comes from the French étuves, to stew in its own juices and it is the perfect recipe for leftover roast meat. I always plan ahead and will cook a roast a day or two before Hogmanay just so that I can have stovies at the bells. Just about every home in Scotland will have a different recipe for this dish, depending on everything from where you live, to what meat you prefer for your roasts.

When I was young my mother would stew potatoes, carrots, onion and turnip in gravy and then add the leftover chopped lamb at the end to warm through. This is where I have returned after many iterations and variations through sliced potatoes hotpot-style to simply meat and onions. I do however prefer to use mutton for a deeper flavour. I leave the carrots in here for authenticity of childhood memory and out when I cook. I can’t abide cooked carrots. I prefer to use fresh stock but by all means use a cube if you don’t have any.




  • 2 onions, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 turnip, (swede) roughly diced
  • 2 medium potatoes, roughly diced
  • carrots, 1-2, sliced (optional)
  • 400ml of beef stock, preferably homemade, but 2 stock cubes in 400ml of water will do
  • leftover roast beef, lamb or mutton, 300g-500g, roughly chopped
  • 2 tsp oil, or dripping, for frying
In a heavy-based pot heat the oil or dripping then add the onions. Sweat down a little, allowing no more than a little colour to form
Add the remaining vegetables and stock and bring gently to the boil. Turn down to a simmer
Continue to simmer until potatoes and turnip are cooked and carrot and onion have softened
Add the meat, stir, and heat gently for a couple of minutes to warm the meat through
Serve in bowls, ideally with warm bread and a dram of whisky
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